STDs in Oneida and Herkimer Counties higher than national average

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Story Updated: Apr 1, 2011

MOHAWK VALLEY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Eighty high school students from across Oneida and Herkimer Counties gathered in Utica on Friday to talk about sex as the AIDS Community Resources Center held its first ever 'Youth Summit' at Daniele's at Valley View.

The reason - alarming new statistics regarding STDs reported in Oneida and Herkimer Counties.

The national average is that 50 percent of all new STD cases reported are among young people in the age group of 15 to 24.

Here in Oneida and Herkimer Counties, among the number of new cases of chlamydia reported, 67 percent of those new cases are amongst young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Of the new cases of gonorrhea, 76 percent are among that young age range of 15 to 24.

Marissa Rice from the Utica Chapter of AIDS Community Resources helped organize Friday's Youth Summit. Rice says the statistics are alarming.

"It's disappointing," Rice said. "This year is the 30th anniversary of the first diagnosed AIDS case, so it's really disappointing to see that the numbers are not continuing to drop, that they've plateaued."

Rice says all of the youngsters participating in the Youth Summit are actually students who have participated in the AIDS Community Resource Center's Teen AIDS Task Force, or TATF.

Rice says they've already learned that practicing abstinence is the best policy. She says what they're bringing to the table here is to share with everyone else what they're hearing among their peers at school.

Among that talk, it's clear that there are many young people having sex, but more importantly, many are having unsafe sex. Rice says these kids at the Youth Summit are learning how to take all of the information they have learned, and are continuing to learn, and use it to help others.

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